Sunday, November 23, 2008

Visually impaired students receive help from United Kingdom

Visually impaired students from the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM) were yesterday presented with an assistive device known as the Dolphin pen. The assistance came from the British High Commission which collaborated with Sightsavers International.

The presentation took place at the British High Commission in Dar es Salaam and marked the visit to Tanzania of the former British Education and Home secretary David Blunkett. The Sightsavers Dolphin pen is a lightweight pen drive with a screen magnifier and reader. The pen will provide students with the same access to computers as their sighted colleagues.

Mr Blunkett, who is also blind, said he was glad and honoured to be in the country as it was a great chance to learn more about the opportunities for blind and visually impaired students in higher learning institutions of the country. "I am glad to be here in Tanzania since it is a country that has shown great efforts in assisting the disabled. Your Government has really impressed me by talking about the physically disabled in parliamentary proceedings," he said.

He said he was ready to offer his experience and example to the disabled in Tanzania as a way of inspiring them. He said the society should seek to inspire and support the disabled in becoming self-reliant in order to reduce dependency and promote equality.

Mr Blunkett is also expected to visit Zanzibar and meet with Government and civil society leaders working to protect and promote the rights and interests of persons with the disability. About 40,000 Tanzanians are thought to be irreversibly blind from birth, 10,000 being children. A total of 1,050,000 Tanzanians are also believed to suffer from low vision.

By Noela Oyugah


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